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Thursday, 19 February 1987
Page: 372

To: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament

We herewith draw your attention to the discriminatory situation of foreign medical practitioners in Australia.

The recently imposed limit of examination attempts to three in number makes Australia the only country in the world that has a limit on such examinations.

Some of the doctors who have been trying unsuccessfully to sit for examinations have already worked successfully in hospitals in Victoria for four years with temporary registration. Their ability in practical work has already been tested yet they find it difficult to pass written multiple choice examinations that employ the special examination techniques they are not familiar with.

In the assessment of the written examination no standard pass mark is given. The pass rate is being kept extremely low i.e. less than ten per cent. After the failed attempt at written examination the candidates are not given an opportunity to see examination papers so they are unaware of the mistakes they have made.

The structure of the examination is such that if candidates fail some of the subjects they have to repeat a full examination including the subjects they passed. This makes the preparation more difficult and frustrating especially for people who have to pass examinations in a foreign language.

The application fee of $500.00 for each attempt of a written examination which is conducted at University of Melbourne with four to five supervisors and is then checked by computer is unreasonably high and this expense is difficult to meet by people who are not given an opportunity to work.

There is no access to the hospitals for the majority of foreign doctors and no proper training course is conducted. Such courses are available in other countries where the examination if required is conducted on completion of the training course.

It would not be that expensive for the Australian Community to have a one to two year duration training course for doctors who have completed their six year medical course overseas and have extensive practical experience in medicine.

There is a group of refugee doctors here who went through the terrible ordeal and nervous stress prior to coming to Australia. They are given the same unfriendly treatment here as all foreign doctors even though they are unable to return to the country of origin. Australia is the only country they belong to now. They brought here their families, their hopes, their desires to be valuable members of the Australian Community and to keep serving people as medical practitioners.

It seems a pitiful waste of human resources and brain power in Australia, a community that needs Doctors, who can speak the language and know cultural traditions of the Australian multi-cultural society. Foreign doctors are not given their chance to work.

We are prepared to work in remote areas anywhere we are needed. There is a critical shortage of foreign speaking psychiatrists for example. The jobs are advertised overseas and psychiatrists are being brought here on temporary contracts. Some of us would only be happy to specialize in psychiatry especially as some of us have already had experience in working for the Mental Health Department for a period of four years as Medical Officers.

Your Petitioners therefore Pray that appropriate measures will be taken to improve the procedure of foreign doctors registration in Australia, the country of migrants.

by .